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Agricultural and Biofuel News - ENN





 



UNH Researchers Find Human Impact on Forest Still Evident After 500 Years

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:21:00 EST

Tropical forests span a huge area, harbor a wide diversity of species, and are important to water and nutrient cycling on a planet scale. But in ancient Amazonia, over 500 years ago, clearing tropical forests was a way of survival to provide land for families to farm and villages to prosper. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire used high-tech tools to more precisely view where these cleared sites were and how much lasting impact they had on the rainforest in the Amazon Basin in South America.(image)



Greenhouse technology could be the future of food

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:26:00 EST

CU Boulder engineers have received a $2.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a scalable, cost-effective greenhouse material that splits sunlight into photosynthetically efficient light and repurposes inefficient infrared light to aid in water purification.The four-year research program could yield next-gen technology capable of solving food, energy and water security challenges posed by global population growth and climate change.(image)



Stanford researchers find major food retailer's sustainability program drives farmers' environmental practices

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:32:00 EST

When grocery stores tout sustainable products, consumers may take their claims at face value. Yet few studies have analyzed whether or not companies who claim to improve the sustainability of their products are actually changing practices in their supply chains.In a new study published online Dec. 22 in the journal Global Environmental Change, Stanford researchers carried out one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space. Studying the agricultural supply chain of Woolworths Holding Ltd. (Woolworths), one of the five largest supermarket chains in South Africa, they found that its Farming for the Future program drove increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level. Agriculture is one of the largest global environmental polluters, driving deforestation and contributing an estimated 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.(image)



When pests graze certain potatoes, yields double

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:50:00 EST

When some Colombian potato varieties are lightly grazed by a pest, the plants respond by growing larger tubers, at times doubling their yields. Although many types of plants can repair pest damage while maintaining productivity, it’s rare to find species that actually overcompensate and increase productivity.(image)



Northern corn leaf blight genes identified in new study

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:36:00 EST

Midwestern corn growers know the symptoms of northern corn leaf blight all too well: greenish-gray lesions on the leaves that can add up to major yield losses if not detected and treated early. Resistance genes have been identified in corn, but the fungal disease has found ways to sneak around corn’s defenses. Now, researchers have figured out how the fungus is outsmarting corn, and they may be able to use this information to help corn fight back.“We were looking for genes in the fungus that trigger disease in corn. With this information, corn breeders could someday build more durable resistance in future hybrids,” says Santiago Mideros, plant pathologist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois.(image)



Making driverless farm equipment even smarter

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:36:00 EST

Driverless farm equipment is becoming more and more attractive to today’s farmers as they battle short growing seasons and rising fuel and equipment costs.Dr. Mehran Mehrandezh has his eye on improving crop yields through the use of automation and algorithms, focussing his efforts on making the entire tillage process more precise.(image)



New Study From the University of Halle: How Climate Change Alters Plant Growth

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:58:00 EST

Global warming affects more than just plant biodiversity - it even alters the way plants grow. A team of researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) joined forces with the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) to discover which molecular processes are involved in plant growth. In the current edition of the internationally renowned journal "Current Biology", the group presents its latest findings on the mechanism controlling growth at high temperatures. In the future this could help breed plants that are adapted to global warming.(image)